Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Callum got a cold a little over a month ago. After a week or so, I took him to the doctor to get checked out in advance of our trip. The doctor said he had a cold but his ears and lungs were pristine so he was fine to fly, and in fact, taking him to a humid climate is the best thing you can do for the cold.

The trip did seem to help. The second we landed in Florida his nose basically turned into a faucet for the next three hours, which seemed to be the humidity softening everything and letting it flow. He remained sick for the rest of our trip, but it seemed pretty mild.

We got home and he was still sick. He was coughing and his nose was running. Then he started pulling on his ears, something he'd never done before. He did it constantly, especially on the right ear, and I noticed on the video monitor that sometimes he would put his hands on his ears in his sleep. All the articles about ear infections said that the number one indicator of an ear infection is the baby's mood, though, and he seemed as happy and energetic as usual, so I thought maybe it was just a new habit.

He was still sleeping through the night, though sometimes he'd fuss a little in his sleep. Some days his appetite seemed low but the next day it would be fine again. His naps kind of sucked, but that could be (and might still be) totally unrelated to a possible ear infection and completely related to him being, you know, a baby. I still felt like something wasn't right with him, so I called the nurse line at our pediatrician and was told, maybe it's his ears but more likely it's just an ongoing cold, up to you what to do. So I decided to hold out for his 12-month well visit at the end of January.

But you know what the weird thing was that tipped me over the edge? In the mornings he would sit up in his crib and start banging the back of his head against the railing. This seemed like a strange new habit so I googled it and found this BabyCenter article, which said that head banging is a common self-soothing technique, particularly among boys, and then mentioned that it can sometimes be an attempt to distract themselves from the pain of teething or ear infection. When I read that, somehow I just KNEW that's what was going on. It was the final straw of all these little things, I guess. I just KNEW that despite what everyone said about how all this stuff could be normal, it was just a cold, he'd be unhappy if he had an ear infection, he wouldn't be sleeping, and so on, that this wasn't typical behavior for my kid, and that something was probably up.

So yesterday morning I called the pediatrician's office at the dot of 8:00 a.m. and managed to get a same-day sick appointment with our regular doctor, which is nothing short of a miracle because she's incredibly popular and doesn't usually even take sick appointments. We went in yesterday afternoon and the nurses continued to try to convince me that he was just fine and it was all typical baby behavior. And I kept responding (and they agreed), "Yeah, maybe he's fine but I thought it was better to get him checked out just to be sure."

Then he saw the doctor. And she was awesome. And she did not make me feel like a paranoid first-time mom. And she spent ages with us. And she checked him very thoroughly. And she discussed everything with me.

And she diagnosed him with bronchiolitis, a double ear infection, and a yeast diaper rash as the cherry on top.

So! After extreme hassle with three pharmacies, one of whom tried to charge us $200 for medication that our insurance ended up covering to the tune of $14 out of pocket (THANK GOD), he is now on steroid nebulizer treatments for the bronchiolitis for two weeks, antibiotics for the ear infection for 10 days, and over-the-counter yeast cream for the rash until it clears up.

And parental instinct for the win. I KNEW something was up. I even knew the infection was worse in the right ear than the left. And now I know that I was right: my kid is the type who acts totally fine and happy even when he has to be massively uncomfortable.

Now we just hope that the treatment makes him feel better really, really soon. And that he stops thrashing like an octopus during his breathing treatments, or it's going to be a long two weeks.


  1. Oh, poor Callum! And poor you guys. Having a sick kid is hard, even if he does handle it well.

  2. It is SO HARD to tell if a kid has an ear infection! My kids will tug and tug on their ears, so I take them to the doctor, and they're fine! Or they will be totally normal, no indications that anything is wrong, and then have a double ear infection at a well visit! AAARGH!

  3. Poor Callum!! My guy had a double ear infection over Christmas, too, and we didn't find out until his well visit. :(

    What does the yeast diaper rash look like? He got a TERRIBLE rash from the antibiotics for ear infection and we can't get it to go away no matter what we do.

  4. Oh that poor baby! You're right, those instincts are better than anything that a doctor can tell you sometimes. I hope he's back up and running soon!

    Does he have to keep the nebulizer in his mouth? Madeline used one for several weeks and hated it too; the doc told us to keep it close to her face so she'd inhale the mist and keep her distracted with a Tootsie Roll pop or similar. (She didn't have brochitis though.) It worked-just a thought if it's making you miserable, I know how hard it is to keep them still. :)

    Big hugs to your little guy and you!

  5. Sam gets bronchial infections EVERY time he gets a cold and there is nothing worse than trying to hold a toddler while giving them a nebulizer treatment. Except maybe shaving an angry weasel. But it's probably really close.

    I hope Callum is right as rain in no time!

    Also, be prepared for the yeast infection to get a little worse from the antibiotics. You might want to give him some acidophilus, too. I just add the contents of a capsule to Sam's milk once a day. It also helps with the antibiotic-induced loose bowels.

    I know you didn't ask for advice, so forgive me if it's unwanted : )

  6. Yikes! I would have freaked out if I saw my kid banging his head against a crib rail!

    Hopefully he gets better soon!

  7. Oh, hope Callum feels better soon - it is so hard to have a sick baby.

    I currently have a 9 month old with a nasty ear infection and the same head banging. He also won't eat - which, of course, makes me super-anxious.

    When my (now 2 year old daughter) was only two days old, I was beside myself over one of her eyes looking really 'off' to me. Everyone I asked about it (a doctor, several advice-nurses, my mother, and even my husband) gave me such a hard time and told me I was over-reacting and that newborns have eye issues,etc. I ended up driving her to a children's hospital ER in the middle of the night against everyone's advice, and they ADMITTED her to the PICU - she had a severe infection in her entire face, and she was hospitalized for days.

    You know you're baby better than anyone. Good for you.

  8. Aww, poor little guy! I hope he gets to feeling better very soon.

  9. Poor guy! It is just miserable when they are sick!

    Make sure you get him some yogurt or other pro-biotic type stuff to protect his little tummy from the antibiotics. We learned that the hard way :(

  10. Our boys are kindred spirits. Took Gavin to the doctor yesterday because we were concerned about his cold-since-Christmas migrating into his chest. Turns out he has an ear infection (didn't see that one coming) and possible pneumonia! Antibiotics for 10 days in our house, too!! Hope Callum feels better soon!

  11. oh my gosh, poor little guy!!! what a trooper for still being in such good spirits, but my gosh. between you & nilsa you guys have some sick little boys!!

  12. Poor little guy! Hope he feels better soon!

  13. Poor baby! I hope he doesn't fight off the treatment too much. I'm still so glad you listened to your gut.

  14. Hope your little guy is feeling better!

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